By Jessie Graber
There is a look of determination on her face as she begins to run across the mat. Picking up speed, she lifts her arms as she prepares to flip through the air, hoping to land on her feet. She jumps, tucks, and sighs contently after completing a perfect pass. Junior Felicia Kane can do it all.
Kane first started gymnastics at the age of three at The Little Gym in Port Washington after her mother noticed how flexible she was and how she loved to tumble. Kane transferred to Cherry Lane Gymnastic Center in New Hyde Park during kindergarten where she took a tumbling class two times a week. In second grade, Kane was asked to join the competition team—a team she is still a member of today. With hard work and dedication, Kane’s skill level increased each year. “I am currently on Cherry Lane’s USA Gymnastics Level 8 team. We train Monday through Friday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.,” Kane said.
In addition to Cherry Lane, Kane has attended International Gymnastics Camp, also known as IGC, in Pennsylvania for the past six summers. IGC gave Kane the opportunity to meet gymnasts from around the world and train with college level coaches and even some Olympic coaches. “ At IGC, training is all day, everyday. The campers come from all over the world and one of my best friends at camp lives in South Africa,” Kane added.
Kane is also a member of the Rebels’ gymnastics team. Kane’s favorite part of Rebels’ gymnastics is the family-like bond she has formed with all of her teammates. “At Cherry Lane, it’s an individual sport; at school, it’s a team sport. Competing as a team has been an amazing experience,” Kane said. Being part of the Rebels’ team has allowed Kane to learn more challenging skills while establishing new friendships.
Despite the fact that Rebels’ gymnastics is a team sport, Kane’s stil remains focused on her individual scores from each event. In order to qualify for the New York State Championships, a gymnast must score higher than a specific score four times in each event. The four minimum scores required in order to place are 8.1 on vault, 7.2 on bars, 8.1 on beam, and 8.5 on floor. “Competing at the State Championships is really exciting,” Kane said; she has competed there for the past two years. While it is possible to qualify for only one event, Kane has qualified for all events this year and last year.
At practice, Kane is motivated by her desire to improve her skill level in order to be able to advance to harder skills. At meets, Kane is motivated by the desire to win and perform better than she did at the previous meet. “My favorite event to compete in is definitely beam,” said Kane. “It amazes me how even I can flip on a 4-inch piece of wood!”
Kane admires Jordyn Wieber, a member of 2012 Olympic USA gymnastics team. “She’s a normal girl who followed her dream, and that was something I could relate to,” Kane said. Kane has been following Wieber since she became a nationally recognized gymnast. Wieber’s flawless performance at the Olympics inspired Kane to continue pursuing her gymnastics dreams.
Although Kane adores everything gymnastics, her favorite thing to do is compete. “I find it exhilarating and I love having ‘all eyes on me,’ including two judges who push me to perform well,” Kane said. “I like competing under pressure.” Kane has competed in various competitions, including the New York State Championships, which take place in upstate New York every year. In 2008, Kane placed first all-around for level 6. In 2011 Kane competed on level 8 and placed tenth for vault in 2011 and sixth for beam in 2012.
Kane looks forwards to continuing gymnastics in the future and is even considering competing in club gymnastics at college. “Gymnastics has given me important life skills including determination, perseverance, and time management. I couldn’t imagine how my life would be without this sport in it.”